Published On : Wed, Mar 14th, 2018

Court orders setting up of SIT for separate probe into irrigation scam

Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court
Nagpur: The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has directed the Chief Secretary to submit a reply on Wednesday, Whether the government is serious or not regarding investigating the irrigation projects scam and whether the government facing manpower shortage to inquire. It has asked to set up the SIT to make a separate inquiry in this matter. Human resources should be provided if shortage of human resources. Also, the High Court will pass an order during the next hearing. Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar said in the order. The hearing is going to be heard after three weeks.

The inquiry is underway, but this does not seem to be happening. In 2014, the secretaries had replied that they should open the inquiry. From three years alone, they are only dodging the questions. After being informed that an open inquiry would be conducted, the High Court had removed the petition. After three years, the investigations are still going on. The High Court has observed that the government does not appear to be serious in this regard. The Secretaries should answer within three weeks otherwise the High Court will have to pass the order. The former superintendent gave the guarantee to the high court to complete the inquiry. It is not appropriate to say that there is no manpower for carrying out inquiry. The High Court said that the government should explain its role in this regard. The Chief Justice asked the Chief Secretary to submit a detailed affidavit.

In the previous hearing, Principal Secretary, Water Conservation Department Iqbal Singh Chahal and State Chief Secretary Sumit Malik presented the affidavit. Meanwhile, action will be taken against those who are accused in this case. ACB inquiry is going on in right direction. He said that ACB has given the report of Jigoan Project’s efficiency squad.

Atul Jagtap filed a PIL in the High Court against the contracts of four irrigation projects received by former MLA Sandip Bajoria’s Bajoria Construction Company. Ajit Pawar has been accused of misusing the power while he was deputy chief minister and giving the contract to the company. The government has submitted an affidavit regarding the investigation of all four projects. The petitioner has questioned over the Bhatkuli Taluka-based low passage project in Amravati district, Chandur Railway Taluka-based Raigad River Irrigation Project, Dayarpur Taluka-based Wagdi Irrigation Project and Nandura Taluka-based Jigaon Irrigation Project in Buldana district. Due to this the High Court has ordered the govt to inform which officer is probing into the irregularities these projects and who has the record of the projects? Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) presented the records tenders of the four projects. The ACB told on 28 Feb that the inquiry was going on. On November 3, 2017, a case was registered against Bajoria Construction Company’s Director Sumit Bajoriya in Khamgaon City Police Station. On February 6, 2018, five people were booked in Chandur Railway Police Station in Amravati district. In this case, the ACB Superintendent of Police, Amravati Rural is investigating. Chief Secretary Malik said in the affidavit that the government is trying its best to have transparency in investigation.

Special public prosecutor Anand Jaiswal, on behalf petitioner Adv Shridhar Purohit, Adv. Prasad Dhake for Ajit Pawar and for Falkar, Bajoria, Adv. Subodh Dharmadhikari, Adv. Praveen Deshmukh presented the stand.